Change. Grow. Progress. You can’t have one without the others, and the agriculture industry is one that perfectly displays this. Our industry is one that is always changing. Farmers and ranchers are being challenged to increase output on limited resources; and in response, technologies are improving to increase the efficiency of crop and livestock production. Consumers are demanding more information on the safety of their food products, so farm and ranch organizations and individual producers are working to educate consumers to help increase their confidence in the food that they feed their families. Things are constantly changing, and although it may not seem like it, you have a voice in how they change. If there are regulations being enacted, don’t hesitate to call your state representatives to have your opinions and concerns heard. Attend Farm
Bureau meetings, become involved in your state beef associations, and actively be involved in the changes being made within this industry that you are so heavily involved in.
These same ideas apply to changes within the American Gelbvieh Junior Association (AGJA). As a board, it is our job to represent the membership and make sure those concerns are being addressed and needs are being met. It is important that we remember our values, where we came from, and make goals to help us move forward and make progress. For us to best serve you, it is important that you contact members of the board and visit with them about your association. Attend events like the AGA National Convention, regional shows, Jr. Classic, committee meetings, and leadership conferences where members from the board will be present and start a conversation. Tell us about your goals for growth, change, and progress within our association. At POWER Conference this year, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a group of very active members of the AGJA to do just that. We talked about the reasons that we chose to become involved with, and more importantly stay involved with the AGJA; we discussed what roles we as junior members played within the AGA and the beef industry. Finally, we talked about places that we thought improvements could be made within our breed and association. The following list provides some of the points that we decided were most important to us as a membership:
Invest in the Youth: We are an association of young beef producers, and soon the challenge of feeding the nine billion people will rest on our shoulders. It is important that we provided our members with all of the resources available to help prepare them for this challenge.
Member Participation: The opportunities within the AGJA are endless; you just have to take advantageof them. Grow your involvement and leadership by becoming active committee members, participating in contests at Jr. Classic, and representing the AGJA at state sales and shows.
Association Growth: Like I said earlier, we can’t have progress without growth. Promote the association and talk about the benefits of membership to help grow member numbers. Promote the cattle and what they do for the profitability of your herd to help increase our registration numbers.
Strive to Improve: Take advantage of improvements in technologies, such as Genomic-Enhanced Expected Progeny Differences. Bring outside genetics into your herd with embryo transfer and AI. Continue to make goals for your herd and work to achieve them.
Be the Conduit: As young adults, we serve as the connection between the older and younger generations. It is important that we keep producers connected with one another, regardless of age. It is also our duty to remember where our association has come from, and have faith in where we are going.
Family: The one word that describes the AGJA better than any others. We have each other’s back, we support one another. We cheer each other’s success and mourn losses with them. We grow and change together. We are a family.
This list, plus a few more points, will serve as the foundation to the AGJA’s long-range strategic plan. Let it be the map to help the AGJA Board of Directors better serve their membership and move the association in a progressive direction. This 5-year plan will be presented at our annual meeting at the Big Red Classic, but drafts are currently being written up and revised. If you have things that you want to see changed within our association, values you want to be sure are remembered, or steps you think need taken to improve and grow the AGJA, make your voice heard. Contact your AGJA Board of Directors, get involved with the new committees, or run for the Jr. Board this summer. Know that for progress to be made, growth and change must occur, and please, be a part of that change.